April 2nd is World Autism Day, and thousands of Floridians will participate in a campaign called “Light it Up Blue” to help raise awareness for Autism. At night time, Porch lights will be blue in support of individuals with autism and their families. The campaign is sponsored by Autism Speaks, and more information can be found at http://autismspeaks.org.
Home Depots nationwide are selling blue light bulbs to benefit the group, which is primarily a research and awareness organization. Autism Speaks even has a Pledge and a place to post “Blue” photos on their website. Only Orlando, however, has one determined local mom ensuring that The City Beautiful goes blue.
To know Rebecca Barnes is to know this- she is fearless. She loves to sky dive, and running in marathons is her hobby. Barnes is also the mother of a amazing son with Autism, who runs in marathons as well. Since she loves a challenge, Rebecca decided Orlando needed to step it up a notch for Autism Awareness month. Rebecca and her son have both volunteered with Autism Speaks before, and both of them have even run a marathon in Autism Speaks jerseys. The “Light it up Blue “campaign seemed like a great way for the city to show its support for the over 3,000 individuals in Central Florida diagnosed with autism and their families. Thanks to Rebecca’s dedication, Downtown Orlando will beautiful in blue lights when The Amway arena and the Lake Eola Fountain go blue in honor of world autism on April 2nd. How did she do it? Her face book page has a saying, “She believed she could, so she did.” Rebecca, quite simply, believed.
Rebecca’s tenacity shows what one committed person can do for their community. More people need to get inspired by her resolve, as the numbers of diagnosed children continue to climb. The CDC just released the newest autism statistics today, and 1 in 88 children are currently diagnosed as having the disorder. Buying a light bulb may not seem like a small thing, but Autism Speaks is using funds from the light bulbs sales to pay for research. Help the cause- change your white lights to blue and let them shine on April 2nd. Rebecca, of course, has plenty of blue light bulbs, as well as a sign in her yard urging others to “Light it up Blue!” The next question is, Orlando, are you ready to go blue?
If you have a family member with Autism or are wondering if your child might have autism and need help, here are two local agencies that might be able to provide assistance.
Central Florida’s Early Steps System:
601 W Michigan St
Orlando Fl 32805
407) 317-7430 Ext. 2121
Merari Perez; Area Administrator Area 7 Agency for Persons with Disabilities (APD)
400 West Robinson Street, Suite S430
Orlando, FL 32801
(407) 245-0440 Phone
(407) 245-0578 Fax
Brevard, Orange, Osceola, and Seminole Counties served